It ain’t easy in a city like Hong Kong so fixated on making money to run a store based simply on a passion for something. The number of people we know who are able to make a living off of doing what they WANT to do instead of what they HAVE to do, we can count on one hand.
Our friend Soni is a legend in terms of Hong Kong metal having been at this thing in Hong Kong for over 30 years trying to shake things up here and establish some sort of culture for heavy music (or in music in general) that especially seems to always be so fleeting here. Sometimes people like Soni are able to make some headway, but it always seems to last just a few years before the momentum is gone when the people who were fired up for a bit move on to other things, and then it feels like we’re all the way back to square one. Soni’s story starts way back in the late ’80s when he started a CD store called Frenzy where I, as a young impressionable teenager, frequented often to listen to music and listen to his stories about metal. Then he started what is easily my favorite Hong Kong band ever – Azylum.
He then also started a label and store Trinity Records upon which he took a long break from all of this madness. As mentioned above, it’s not easy at ALL to do something with this stuff when there really isn’t a big enough market for it locally to sustain a living. When it’s a day to day struggle, eventually it impacts your passion. Stepping away from it for a bit is always the best thing to do, which is what Soni did.
Infree Records – Hong Kong’s ONLY one-stop shop for metal, hardcore, jazz, rock, doom, stoner rock…
Two years ago Soni came roaring back with a new record store called Infree Records which just celebrated in immense style by releasing its own special local beer. “Since it’s our 2nd year anniversary we wanted to celebrate this with a beer to share with everyone we’ve come in contact with. We collaborated with HK Lovecraft (Hong Kong brewery) and artist/illustrator, NYX Yam, to create our own craft beer lager with a truly Hong Kong identity.”
Why did Infree choose to collab with HK Lovecraft you ask? “We chose HK Love craft because of the quality in taste and most importantly they display a great work ethic and thus encompass the true character and identity of Hong Kong. In many ways I hope they can stay as underground as us. For example, just like, we’d rather have 5 fans drink 20 beers over the year than 20 trendy people drink 1 can of beer a year because it’s “cool”.”
Artist Nyx with her final creation
One of the brilliant things about this beer is that it is not actually called “Infree Records” – not only would that be weird, but it also wouldn’t allow the beer to take a life of its own. “We named the beer [EMPYREAN] after Nyx’s band Perish of Empyrean. She’s the vocalist of the band and the band’s overall sound and aesthetic fits well together with the specific taste of this beer, not to mention the artwork that she created.”
According to Soni, “The taste of EMPYREAN is fresh, cloudy with a rich sweetness like BURNT HONEY, fused with a subtle HINT OF GREEN in hop. Soft sting of PEPPERY SPICE of earth. (ABV: 8%, IBU: 25).”
The guitarist of Nyx’ band, Kells Choy, has even created a 4-minute exclusive song based on the artwork which will be available shortly. Keep an eye out for that! In the meantime check out Kells ripping through a guitar solo on her own YouTube channel.
If you’re interested in picking up some of these beers, contact Infree Records directly. “We deliver worldwide!” Hit up Infree Records HERE.
To check out Nyx’s artwork follow her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nyxyam/
Check out Perish of Empyrean at this link: https://www.facebook.com/Perish-of-Empyrean-651144101978541